Understanding Cancer Better

To improve the quality of life, it is important for your patients to have knowledge of various diseases and how they can take good care of themselves. Below are the series of questions that can help your patients understand CANCER better.

1. What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that occurs when changes take place in a normal group of cells that lead to abnormal uncontrolled growth of these cells resulting in the formation of a lump or a tumour. This is true for all types of cancer except leukaemia (blood cancer).

If not treated timely or left untreated, these tumours can grow and spread to other parts of the body. This can affect your body function on the whole.

2. What are the types of tumours?

There are three types of tumours that are seen. These include:

  1. Benign: These are not cancerous and rarely cause any serious harm

  2. Malignant: These are fast-growing and spread rapidly to other parts of the body.

  3. Precancerous: This describes a condition involving abnormal cells which may potentially develop into cancer.

3. What are the different types of cancers?

There are five main types of cancer depending on the type of cell they start from. These are:

  1. Carcinoma

  2. Sarcoma

  3. Lymphoma and Myeloma

  4. Leukaemia

  5. Brain and Spinal cord cancers

4. What are the risk factors for cancer?

The risk factors for cancer can be classified as modifiable and non-modifiable.

The modifiable risk factors include:

  1. Alcohol

  2. Obesity

  3. Bad dietary habits

  4. Lack of physical activity

  5. Tobacco

  6. Exposure to ionising radiation

The non-modifiable risk factors to cancer include:

  1. Age

  2. Carcinogens (cancer-causing substances)

  3. Genetics

  4. Weakened immune system

5. What are the common symptoms of cancer?

There are a variety of cancers and symptoms experienced may vary accordingly. In general, the following are key symptoms of cancer:

  1. Lumps or swelling

  2. Coughing, breathlessness

  3. Changes in bowel movements

  4. Unexplained bleeding

  5. Sudden weight loss

  6. Fatigue

  7. Complications while urinating

  8. Abnormal changes in the breast

  9. Loss of appetite

  10. Heartburn

  11. Excessive night sweats

6. How is cancer usually diagnosed?

The diagnosis of cancer is made based on your presenting symptoms along with a series of other tests. These commonly include:

  1. Blood tests

  2. Biopsies

  3. PET Scans

  4. CT Scan

  5. Genetic testing

  6. Urine cytology, etc

7. What can I do to prevent cancer?

One-third of all cancers can be prevented by minimizing your exposure to factors such as tobacco, alcohol, obesity, physical inactivity, infections, environmental pollution, occupational carcinogens, and radiation.

8. Why is the early detection of cancer important?

Early detection helps greatly in effectively treating cancer. It improves the chances of successful treatment outcomes often at lower costs and fewer side-effects to patients.

9. What are the stages of cancer?

The TNM classification is a common staging system used by oncologists. It focuses on the anatomical extent of the spread of a tumour. It is assessed as follows:

  1. T: Indicates the size of the main tumour

  2. N: Explains if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes present nearby

  3. M: Indicates whether cancer has metastasized

 10. Does cancer happen in childhood?

Yes, childhood cancer is very prevalent. According to the currently limited statistics, it is estimated that one child dies of cancer every three minutes.

11. Is childhood cancer curable?

More than 70% of childhood cancer is completely curable with the help of modern therapy. This is nothing short of a ‘miracle’ in health circles.

12. What are the different types of therapies used to treat cancer?

Along with surgery, there are several other treatments that help manage and treat cancer. These include:

  1. Radiotherapy

  2. Chemotherapy

  3. Immunotherapy

  4. Hormone therapy

  5. Gene therapy

13. What does survivorship deal with?

It primarily focuses on health and the physical, psychological, social and economic problems that affect individuals:

  1. After the end of primary cancer treatment

  2. Who have no disease after finishing treatment

  3. Who continues to receive treatment to reduce the risk of cancer coming back

  4. With a well-controlled disease and few symptoms, who receive treatment to manage cancer as a chronic disease

14. What is palliative care?

Palliative care runs through the entire course of a patient’s journey, from diagnosis to cure or end of life. It is designed to improve the overall quality of a patient’s life by relieving troubling symptoms and minimizing the side effects of cancer treatments.

To know more about ‘Birth Defects – 5 Tips To Prevent Them!’, Click Here To know more about how WhiteCoats can help you in your professional advancement, visit www.whitecoats.com Want to set up an online consultation for your practice, Click Here

#environmentalpollution #successfultreatmentoutcomes #physicalinactivity #obesity #tumour #childhoodcancer #commonsymptomsofcancer #infections #cancer #differenttypesofcancers #Tobacco #riskfactorstocancer #sideeffects #alcohol #occupationalcarcinogens #typesoftumours